What’s an aging boomer to do?

You know the part where they say you need to have $1 million saved for your retirement? Well, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  For multiple reasons this is not even remotely close to my reality.

Maybe, like me, you’re part of the “middle market,” with enough income to support ourselves, but not enough to afford the $3000+ monthly fees in a senior community or CCRC?

What’s not to like about guaranteed care in a Continuing Care Retirement Community? But, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the “average entrance fee for each unit is $249,857.”

So … cancel the CCRC.  Way out of my league!

Aging in place?

I’ve been reading  about “Aging in Place” as a viable option.  Perhaps I could live in my nice little townhouse for quite a while.

typical townhouse

But then again, I could easily become a hermit.  My neighborhood is pretty sterile. With attached garages and no front porches for lounging, it’s hard to tell if anyone is even home!

home repair tools

And if I should need to get around in a wheelchair, that’s not going to happen in these four walls.  The stats are that only 1% of houses are conducive to aging in place, and I’m a fixed figure in the other 99%.  And the ADA data shows that costs for remodeling the bathroom alone average $9000. Add on a kitchen remodel for $15.000-$20,000, plus a ramp and wider doors, and this can quickly become a pricey option.

So … cancel aging in place (at least in my place).  Too isolating.  Too expensive to remodel.

Aging in community
Four Lights community plan
Four Lights community plan, Sonoma, CA

What are the alternatives? When I started looking around, I was stunned to find how many grassroots movements there are exploring creative options for aging in community.

tiny house stairs

While the popularity of tiny houses presents an affordable option, as an aging senior, I can’t see myself climbing a ladder to get into a loft. Or trying to navigate a wheelchair in an 8-foot-wide space.

So … cancel the tiny houses.

But, then again, maybe not.

  • What if the “tiny” house weren’t quite so tiny? Say, 400-500 square feet instead of 200?
  • What if the tiny house were all on one floor, with a fully accessible, universal design?
  • What if the tiny house were part of a small community, with some shared central spaces?
A few things to ponder

How might your life be different if . . .

"Wedge" by Wheelhaus
“Wedge” tiny house by Wheelhaus

. . . you had a nice front porch to sit, where it would be easy for someone to say “hi” as they walked by or stopped in to hang out for a bit?

“River Dunes” in Oriental, NC

. . . there were a central area where someone might start up a fire in the fire pit, just waiting for you to join them?

library with fireplace

. . .there were a quiet reading room in a central building where you could curl up in front of a fireplace and read a good book?

Interested in finding out more?

There’s a lot to discover, from pocket neighborhoods to the cohousing movement, from tiny house villages to bungalow courts.  I hope you’ll join me in exploring the options.

If you’d like to be notified when  new Tiny Houses for Seniors articles are posted, please sign up.  I look forward to many explorations together!

–  Marcia, host for Tiny Houses for Seniors


2 Replies to “What’s an aging boomer to do?”

  1. At LifeEdited, we love tiny houses ! They are like architectural and existential reduction sauce. While a nice idea, most tiny house designs are a poor fit for seniors . Density in itself is not enough to quantify an impact of a building as efficient..

    1. Thanks for your comments. I agree, in most cases tiny house designs ARE a poor fit for seniors. But I think, with an expanded view of what “tiny” is, new options are possible. If you haven’t read my latest post titled “I could never live like that,” I invite you to check it out.

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